NFL signs TV deals worth billions with Fox, NBC and CBS
Even Broncos quarterback Tim Tebow couldn't have pulled off this miracle finish.
The National Football League has signed new record-setting nine-year television contracts with Fox, CBS and NBC that will see the NFL get an average of $3.1 billion a year in rights fees over the life of the deal. Currently, the three pay a combined average of $1.94 billion per season to the NFL.
The agreements will take effect after the 2013 football season, when the current contracts expire, and run through 2022. Although there were still more than two years to go on the pacts, the NFL wanted to lock in new long-term deals.
“These agreements underscore the NFL’s unique commitment to broadcast television that no other sport has,” Commissioner Roger Goodell said in a statement.
For the networks, holding onto the NFL was crucial. The games deliver big audiences and are a platform to promote their prime time lineups. As more and more viewers migrate to cable television, the value of programming that can bring in big ratings has increased.
“No other franchise delivers ratings the way an NFL game does," said CBS Chief Executive Leslie Moonves.
News Corp.'s Fox continues to have the most expensive package. It carries the National Football Conference, which includes teams in big cities such as New York, Philadelphia, Washington, Chicago and Dallas. Under the present deal, Fox pays about $725 million a year for its portion of the NFL. Over the run of the new deal, Fox's price tag will grow to $1.1 billion.
Comcast Corp.'s NBC, which has rights to a Sunday night package of games, and CBS, which carries the American Football Conference, will each end up paying an average fee of roughly $1 billion a year.
As part of its new deal, NBC is also getting more post-season NFL games as well as a prime time game on Thanksgiving night. CBS and Fox already carry Thanksgiving games. The NFL's own cable channel -- the NFL Network -- will lose its Thanksgiving night game to NBC starting next year.
Earlier this fall, Walt Disney Co.'s ESPN signed a new deal to keep its "Monday Night Football" franchise, which saw the sports cable network's fee go from an average of $1.1 billion to $1.9 billion per season.
-- Joe Flint
Photo: Broncos star Tim Tebow leads his team past the Chicago Bears. Credit: Rick Wilking/Reuters.